Millions of Americans are affected by seasonal allergies every year, but many may not be aware of how allergies affect their oral health. Depending on the severity of allergy symptoms and their duration, individuals may develop oral issues that could lead to gum disease and tooth decay. Being aware of how allergies affect oral health will help individuals practice preventative care methods and take other precautionary measures to sustain their oral health for a lifetime.
Seasonal allergies occur twice a year, usually during spring and fall months. During this time, trees and grass pollinate, which leave substances in the air that may cause irritation. The most common allergen during the fall season is ragweed pollen, which is carried hundreds of miles by the wind. Mold and dust mites are also common around this time, which can also leave individuals symptomatic.
Allergies can cause congestion, puffy eyes, constant sneezing and coughing, irritated gums, and an itchy nose, mouth, and throat. Because congestion forces individuals to breathe from their mouths, they are susceptible to dry mouth. Individuals affected by dry mouth experience a decline in saliva production, which means bacteria are able to build up and attack the teeth and gums.
The longer the bacteria festers, the more at-risk individuals become to tooth decay and gum disease.
Another allergy-related mouth condition is a post-nasal drip, which increases bacteria that can lead to bad breath. Allergies can also cause an increase in mucus, which could lead to sinus pressure and pain in the top teeth.
Fortunately, there are certain treatment options available for those experiencing oral health issues caused by allergies. One treatment option to consider is increasing water intake because it keeps the mouth lubricated, washes away excess food and bacteria, and helps increase saliva production. Chewing sugar-free gum will also increase saliva production, which will wash away unwanted bacteria buildup and protect the teeth from decay. Sucking on sugar-free candy is another excellent option as it produces similar effects as chewing gum. Sleeping with a humidifier may also be beneficial for those experiencing uncomfortable symptoms. Lastly, brushing twice daily and flossing at least once daily should help remove all of the bacteria and prevent complications from developing and/or worsening.
If symptoms persist after trying these options, then individuals should consult with a dental professional for further care.
At McBride Dental, we have spent years helping our patients treat and prevent oral complications to help them maintain their dream smiles. We offer preventative care services, such as thorough examinations, X-rays, and deep cleans, to decrease their chances of developing oral issues. We also offer gum disease treatment, cavity fillings, and dental implants for those currently experiencing oral complications. For individuals interested in cosmetic dentistry, we also offer teeth whitening services to help create the beautiful bright smile they desire. If you are in the San Diego area and would like to learn more information or schedule an appointment with us, call us today at (760) 471-1003.